As the population ages and the prevalence of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes increase, wound management continues to pose a substantial healthcare burden.
Wounds are typically managed as a comorbidity of other conditions and clinicians often lack specialised training, limiting the impact of efforts to overcome the growing challenge they represent. It is estimated that more people are living with chronic wounds than with breast, colon, and lung cancer combined. GlobalData projects that the wound care market will reach $48.1m by 2025.
Companies such as Parable Health and WoundVision are capitalizing on the need for effective wound management methods with the development of digital wound assessment and monitoring systems. These mobile solutions assess current problems in wound care management by assessing patients’ wounds with great precision, and providing real-time views of critical data including patients at risk of deteriorating. By using smartphones, patients are also able to discern if their wounds are infected, improving, or declining.
Another area of concern is the lack of protocol for the measurement of wounds as various techniques are utilized. Clinicians often use the ‘ruler method’ whereby the surface area of the wound is approximated by multiplying the greatest length and width measurements. Studies have shown that this measurement method overestimates the size of the wound by up to 40%. Furthermore, the process of documenting these measurements is time-consuming and costly. Swift Medical developed the Swift Wound mobile application, which captures wound measurement without touching the area of interest. The company also developed Swift HealX, an adhesive marker that calibrates wound images for size, color, and lighting.
There is great scope for innovation in digital wound management as the rapid development of artificial intelligence will add even more value to future developments of wound care products. Big data and machine learning will allow the prediction of healing times and provide guidance for possible treatment solutions.